01 December 2019 Business

HP remains robust as market for printers continues to shift

HP's sales in personal computers and in high value graphic arts pages are compensating for a drop in consumable revenues for home and office printing as these users shift away from hard copy output.

HP has reported revenues at a stand still for 2019, but with growth in commercial printing within that to compensate for a drop in the consumer supplies business.

For HP, commercial printing covers the PageWide inkjet presses, Indigo, large format, 3D and some Samsung printers used in the office. It amounts to a division generating 8% of HP’s overall $58.8 billion in revenue.

The company has reported a 1% drop in revenue for hardware sales in this division with CEO Enrique Lores commenting, however, that the company had recorded “steady growth in pages printed” in the division. The 3D printers produced double the products they had in 2018 and will double this volume again in 2020, the company says.

Lores picks out the order for 24 HP Indigo 20000s from fast expanding ePac, printer of flexible packaging on digital presses. The customer has one UK site in operation at Silverstone and is exploring options for a second factory to service customers in the north.

However, revenue from print supplies, driven by desktop inkjet printers, was down 5%, underlining the need for restructuring in the way the company approaches the market. The company has suffered from the proliferation of low priced clones in the market, encouraging customers to switch to cheaper inks.

The company has already implemented a change in direction, lifting the price of the printer and reducing the cost of the ink, while announcing that 9,000 jobs would go. It says it has received 1,000 applications for early retirement in the US.

“We are deliberately not chasing shares,” CFO Steve Fieler told an analysts call to discuss the Q4 figures, though not anything to do with Xerox. “And we expect to grow our industrial print business across graphics and 3D over the next year,” he added.

Lores adds: “2019 marks our third consecutive year of revenue, non GAAP operating profit and non GAAP earnings growth, with non GAAP EPS up 11% and strong free cash flow of $4 billion.

“We delivered an excellent Q4, with 11% non GAAP EPS growth. Our strategy is working, and we are confident in our business heading into FY20.”

By Gareth Ward

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3D growth

3D growth

HP has enjoyed 100% growth, albeit from a low point, in its 3D printing business and anticipates similar expansion in the coming year, while reporting that the number of pages printed on commercial printing presses has again increased.

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